Author: Redazione Alimenta

Home/Articles Posted by Redazione Alimenta (Page 5)

US exports for butter and cream on the rise, especially towards Canada

A truly profitable month in October for dairy and milk products exports in the US: we have seen in particular a rise in export volumes, if compared with the same month in 2015, for butter (+178,9%), cream milk (+826,5%), cheese (+5,3%), powdered skimmed milk (+14,4%) and powdered serum (+28,1%). Minus sign for powdered whole milk (-23,9%), condensed milk (-3,3%), unpackaged and packaged milk (-16,1%) and for yoghurt and buttermilk (-6%) (Source:

Switching to exports value data for the month of October, still in comparison with the same period of last year, we have witnessed a sharp rise in the price of butter (+ 31,9%), confirming its performances, as already mentioned, even in terms of volume: packaged and unpackaged milk also experienced a price surge (+29,5%), in a countertrend with the volume decline. Same goes for yoghurt and buttermilk, with a sharp increase in value in spite of a decrease of sell volumes, ending up at a good +15,8%. We have also seen a plus sign for condensed milk (+7,1%). On the other hand, prices per unit go down for cream milk (-3,3%), cheese (-4,4%) powdered skimmed milk (-10,5%), powdered whole milk (-15,3%) and powdered serum (-22,3%) (Source:

Main performances from January to October

A basically stable volume for United States exports during the January-October period of this year (+0,4%), while value is decreasing (-16,4), with substantial positive performances for powdered whole milk (+35,4 in value and +63,2 in volume), butter (+11,8% in value and +5,8% in volume) and cream (+81% in value and +80,8% in volume).

Target markets

We can really say cream saw a veritable surge during October: a truly outstanding +826,5% which allowed Canada to surpass Mexico as first buyer. Same thing can be said for butter, with Canada being the main market at 2.325 tons, followed by a far distant Mexico at just 473 tons, which used to lead over Canada till last February with 3.146 tons, and then Saudi Arabia with 385 tons. The increase in prices per unit led to more exportations towards Canada while exports to Mexico decreased.

Continue Reading

UN says dairy an ally in the fight against malnutrition in Asia

Milk and other dairy products have become an unexpected ally in the fight against malnutrition, especially in an enormous and overpopulated continent like Asia, which faces problems linked to obesity and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This is according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This report is in some ways a wake-up call according to FAO Assistant Director-General Kundhavi Kadiresan since nearly half a billion people suffer from hunger in this region. Increased consumption of milk and dairy products could be the best solution for eradicating problems related to malnutrition.

In actual fact, thanks to greater political stability and mechanized farming, Asia has made huge strides in this direction; in the last 25 years undernourishment has halved in Asia from 24.3 percent to 12.3 percent.

Also worth taking into consideration is the fact that the millions of people who move from the country to large cities change their diet from a more traditional, rice-based one to a more ‘Westernized’ version comprising more fruit, vegetables and meat.

However the most significant change is that Asians are drinking more milk, traditionally absent from many Asian kitchens but which is now flying off the shelves from Bangkok to Beijing. Production has almost tripled – from roughly 110 million tonnes in 1990 to almost 300 million tonnes in 2013 – and accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s increase in milk supplies.

Nutritious and cheap, the dairy boom has encouraged governments to develop programmes that also invest in schools. A national programme in Thailand that brings milk into schools is boosting students’ growth and increasing their intake of protein and calcium. Similar programmes have been launched worldwide from India to China to the Philippines.

The main beneficiaries have been small farmers, who produce nearly 80 percent of the milk in Asia due to low costs and a more equal distribution of cows and goats.

The result is that the dairy industry has for Kadiresan become a potential ‘engine of poverty-alleviating growth’.

Continue Reading

A ‘milk run by air’ between Tasmania and China soon to operate

In the first half of 2017, Australia’s flag carrier airline Qantas will carry more than 50,000 litres of fresh milk from Hobart, the capital city of the federal state of Tasmania, to the second largest city in the Zhejiang Province in China which has a population of 55 million inhabitants (slightly less than Italy).

Considering the rapid growth in Chinese demand for perishable food products, Qantas Freight has been named the exclusive air freight partner to carry milk from Tasmania’s Van Dairy to the Chinese city of Ningbo. It is a real ‘milk run by air’.

The service will be provided for by Boeing 767-300, the largest commercial plane to regularly operate into and out of Hobart, and will initially run on a weekly basis with a view to increasing frequency to meet demand.

The milk will not only be destined for supermarkets in Ningbo but also those of Beijing, and the intention is for it to arrive in Shanghai, Hangzhou and other large cities.

Together with Qantas and thanks to its partnership with Leone Dairy, a local freight logistics company, Van Dairy is able to guarantee a really fresh product for the Chinese consumer. A milk run by air to meet the needs of consumers.

Sean Shwe, CEO of Moon Lake Investments, the parent company of Van Dairy, said he was really pleased to be working with Qantas to fly fresh milk from Australia to China: “There is huge demand for fresh milk in China and the key to satisfying that demand is having a reliable freight partner with an established freight network, infrastructure and support in China and expertise in handling fresh produce.”

This venture opens the door for access to other Tasmanian producers of fresh and perishable products such as fish, fruit and vegetables.
On the same wave length, Executive Manager of Qantas Freight and Qantas Catering Group Alison Webster stated: “We’ve been flying freight between Australia and Greater China for more than thirty years, and currently offer freight capacity on forty flights a week.”

In the past three years Qantas Freight has strongly focused on dairy produce which, with its short life, requires close collaboration to ensure on time delivery and quality control throughout the supply chain.

Continue Reading

A survey on Chinese consumers’ taste for milk

The 2016 National Consumer Satisfaction Research on Liquid Milk commissioned by the China Association for Quality (CAQ) and edited by CCM, the leading provider of market intelligence for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets, was published on November 4 and has revealed that the satisfaction of Chinese consumers is decreasing compared to 2015, and demand for milk quality is changing.
The survey was carried out on more than 9,000 Chinese consumers from 31 provinces all over the country. The average score was 74 points in a range from 0 (completely dissatisfied) to 100 (completely satisfied) – a decrease of 4% compared to 2015.
The response from Chinese consumers in four points
Four main points emerge from the survey: the first trend shows how customer satisfaction, brand image, perceptual quality and the like are all declining. It is only a slight decline which does not appear to be of much significance; however, it shows greater willingness on the part of consumers to give more value to quality and the reputation of the milk. In addition, these same consumers respond poorly to sales promotions in general.
The second point concerns the huge popularity of fresh milk first and foremost, due to its higher nutritional value, and UHT milk which, thanks to its high-temperature sterilisation, long life and greater safety due to the elimination of dangerous bacteria, finds favour with 31.2% of respondents.
The third point that has arisen from the results regards the strong preference for liquid milk which is explained by the higher nutritional content in this type of milk. It contains, for example, more calcium.
The last result regards product distribution and purchase: almost 90% of participants indicated supermarkets as their preferred purchase location. Other channels, at a considerable distance behind, are represented by normal trade and direct salesOnline sales are growing but do not exceed 2%.
What emerges from all this? The data clearly reflects a market which is more mature and more aware as well as selective and attentive to quality. Manufacturers, therefore, are warned.

Continue Reading

How important is the dairy sector in the New Zealand economy?

The New Zealand dairy industry has been facing difficulties for almost two years, experiencing a lethal combination of excess supply and declining demand from key trading partners. They include China which weighs heavily on the sector and has brought milk prices down to their lowest ever. Considering the importance of the dairy sector in New Zealand, this situation has greatly contributed to the general stagnation afflicting the country. GDP growth has slowed down and inflation has dropped to almost zero. Employment has also reached deadlock: in the first quarter, growth dropped to 1.70% down from 3.40% the year before. Additionally, disposable income has only partially grown ( and data).

The dairy sector accounts for more than 29% of the country’s total exports. The first months of 2013 showed promise of continuous growth but then the situation changed quickly. In fact during the course of last year whole milk powder prices rapidly decreased.

It is true though that New Zealand has heavily focused on milk in the last two decades thanks to a booming demand from emerging markets, particularly China. Today China is working on creating its own dairy industry; in addition, exports to Russia – whose market is extremely interesting – have been cut by international sanctions, and the process for deregulation of Europe’s dairy sector has initiated. All this has led to more than a 50% price drop compared to 2013 (from $5,000/t to $2,013/t).

As a result, bank exposure has increased and bad debts have reached worrying levels. Therefore, the value of land and businesses has also dropped. Last year sales fell by 10% with average sales prices tending to decrease by nearly NZD 4,000.

It will be difficult and complicated for the country to recover, especially as it has concentrated entirely on commodities and lacks real dairy specialities that could diversify its offer on the market, for example China’s market which is increasingly mature and attentive. A solution may be able to be found in its enormous sheep sector which is underused in the dairy sector today.

Continue Reading

The many properties of sheep milk serum

The fact that sheep milk serum has many benefits for our body has been by now scientifically proven: it has the ability to detox and cleanse, it helps staying fit, since it is also rich in nutrients, it can be easily digested and it helps with intestine’s health. In order to measure its nutritional value, we just have to take into consideration that milk serum proteins have higher nutritional values than meat and vegetable proteins. Although cow milk protein values and sheep milks are basically similar, serum proteins can be found in higher doses in sheep milk.

These proteins, which can be found in numerous milk and dairy products, in many energy bars and powdered protein shakes – are labelled “concentrate of milk serum proteins” or “hydrolyzed serum proteins”, and they help enhancing the velocity with which muscles can grow, therefore aiding the skeleton supporting body weight. An amino acid produced by several proteins, leucine, helps with the synthesis of muscle proteins, and can also enhance glucose tolerance and reduce inflammation of tissues caused by obesity.

What are serum proteins?

The main protein–based substances that can be found in serum are the following:

  • beta-lactoglobulin, which can be the cause of a common condition known as milk protein allergy;
  • alpha-lactoalbumin, which constitute about 25% of serum proteins and acts as a synthesizer agent for lactose, the sugar contained in milk;
  • dida 2immunoglobulin, and antibody directly deriving from blood plasma of the animal, there are several immunoglobulins called IgG1, IgG2, IgA and IgM and they have antimicrobial properties, since they can neutralize toxins and viruses;
  • lactoferrin, which has the ability to bind with iron and can increase transportation and absorption of iron; lactoferrin helps strengthening the immune system and stimulate the growth of heathy bacteria in the intestinal tract;
  • serum albumin - responsible for transportation of the fatty acids in the blood, such as palmitic and oleic acids, but it also helps with transportation of medium–short chain acids like caproic acid, caprynic and caprylic acid which, among other things, are responsible for the peculiar smell of sheep cheese.

The presence of serum proteins in the milk varies according to the type of animal, lactation period and several other factors.

Milk serum proteins to fight cancer

It seems that milk serum proteins are able to support the immune system and therefore kill cancer cells. How is that possible? Milk serum can provide many benefits to cancer patients, thanks to the wide spectrum of substances protecting healthy cells and acting on cancer cells. Among the others, there is one that can be reasonably be defined as a “cancer killer”: the aforementioned lactoferrin. How does this process take place? Lactoferrin activates immune system cells such as neutrophilia, macrophages and T cells, that is the first line of defense against cancer cells. Lactoferrin is drawn by the highly negative charge that can be found in the membrane of cancer cells. This is not the case with healthy cells since they have a neutral charge.

After being attracted by cancer cells, lactoferrin binds to them and triggers a process that ends up killing them; not only that but it also blocks angiogenesis – which is the growth of blood vessels that feed cancer cells. Another feature of lactoferrin helping in the fight against cancer is its ability to bind with iron – a bond that is 100 times stronger than transferrin’s, the major transportation protein of iron within the human body. This property is of utmost importance if we take into account that several studies suggest that an excessive amount of iron may increase the risk of developing some types of cancer, those types that need iron in order to reproduce and grow.

Lactoferrin also fosters the production of glutathione, classified as phase II enzyme, a powerful substance supporting cancer prevention, and apparently, an increase in this substance may be able to prevent the development of prostate cancer. A clinical trial on cancer patients showed a regression of the disease, starting from the moment patients were injected with serum proteins with a concentration of 30 g/day. These enzymes are multipurpose substances useful to increase life quality on a cellular level. A researcher from John Hopkins University, Paul Talalay, stated that an increase in phase II enzymes proved to be a very effective way to protect oneself from carcinogenesis – that is, the development of new tumours. According to the researcher, a milk serum supplement must be regarded as an effective way to prevent and take cancer apart.

In Sweden, some researchers from the University of Lund explained how alpha-lactoalbumin proteins that can be found in milk serum have the ability to kill every known type of breast cancer cells – even in low dosage. Alpha-lactoalbumin is configured as a protein capable of selectively inducing apoptosis, which is the programmed suicide of cancer cells. Multiple researches to this regard are carried out in the United States too: the United States for Biotechnology Information, of the National Institutes of Health, stated that including milk serum proteins in a diet might help significantly in decreasing insurgence and growth of chemically-induced tumors in lab rats.

However, milk serum proteins are not just able to prevent, but might also have the ability to slow down cancer growth: it has been showed that a branched chain of amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine and other compounds that can be found in milk serum proteins can create a limiting and restrictive calorie response, since it seems that limiting calories might help increasing treatment results in cancer patients. Experiments on lab rats fed with a low-calorie diet showed a much slower tumour growth with this diet in contrast with lab rats that followed a regular diet. In conclusion, the vast majority of cancer patients might benefit a lot from consuming super foods which are specifically rich in nutrients and generally lower in calorie content.

And there’s more…

Not only that, but that are numerous international studies suggesting a medical use of lactoferrin (source: to prevent HIV (B. Van Der Strate, Netherlands), as an antibacterial (B. Reiter, Belgium), antibiotic (J. Andersen, Norway), anticancer (N. Sakamoto, Japan), anti-mycotic (H. Wakabayashi, Japan), antivirus (P. Valenti,Italy), to treat rheumatoid arthritis (G. Julien, UK), in the treatment of neurologic disorders (S. Penco, Italy), gastroenteritis (C. De Laet, France), and for neoplasia (G. Tuccari, Italy), as a treatment for rheumatism (M. Degre, France), and many more conditions.

Anti-mycotic properties of enriched sheep milk serum thanks to safranal

A study conducted by the University of Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia University evaluated distribution of safranal (and organic compound, aromatic aldehyde that can be found in nature and in form of glycoside (picrocrocin) in saffron, cheese, milk serum and requesón (a serum-based dairy product)) and the anti-mycotic potential of fractions of milk serum against Penicillium verrucosum fungus. In order to do that, researchers have produced cheeses using raw sheep milk and adding 40 mg of safranal/kg and they have been tested against a control milk (with no added safranal). Safranal turned out to be more concentrated in requesón compared to milk serum and requesón serum. These liquid fractions showed positive antimycotic properties and they have inhibited moulds with a safranal concentration of around 35 µg / kg, while studies showed that in order to obtain a similar inhibition for a standard safranal solution, a solution of 80 mg/kg must be employed. These results show that milk serum has a synergetic effect with safranal in preventing mold–induced deterioration.

Hydrolyzed serum proteins

We have already talked about hydrolyzed serum proteins in the paragraph where we mentioned the information that can be found on the ingredient label. But what are they? Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) derive from hydrolysis, an artificial process of enzyme digestion in which the bonds between proteins are divided and they are transformed into smaller molecules, mainly into oligopeptides which are then digested and absorbed faster. It would not be correct to define this product purely as a “protein” since it is by definition formed by chains which are composed by more than 100 amino acids. It is, therefore, more correct to define them as “hydrolyzed peptides of milk serum” or “peptides of milk serum”. WPH are actually not entirely composed by hydrolyzed proteins: they can include an average of 20% and up to 50% of branched amino acids, decomposed by hydrolysis. Taste can be a good indicator of product quality since a higher content of hydrolyzed proteins tends to give the powder a more bitter taste; this characteristic makes them less popular than other serum proteins. But there is an upside: this treatment might be able to reduce digestive tolerance problems, such as bloating, absorption issues and tympanites. That is why hydrolyzed protein compounds are added to some specific diets as a medical solution for treating patients with digestive problems. Highly–hydrolyzed forms might very well be the least allergy–inducing ones among the various types of milk serum, and they naturally allow for an absolutely faster assimilation among all the proteins.

Continue Reading

Blue River Dairy introduces Alimenta to a more mature Chinese market

An event in which roughly 250 professionals – for the most part large distributors of the Chinese dairy sector – took place on November 9 this year at the headquarters of Blue River Dairy in Chang Sha, China. There were fundamentally two points on the agenda: an introduction and official presentation to a specialised group of people belonging to the Italian partner Alimenta with which on October 25 Blue River Dairy signed a joint venture for the Chinese sheep and goat milk market, and the launch of new dairy products.

The first to speak was Litao Chen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Blue River, who explained the key points of the company’s strategic planning. A purely commercial talk was then given by Wei Mao which focused on the second point of the agenda, i.e. the market launch of new New Zealand products. Instead Nina Luo, member of the Board of Directors of Alimenta, spoke about available resources. Finally, President of Blue River Dairy Group Yuanrong Chen assessed the market structure and competitor trends.





Continue Reading

Five good reasons why one should consume sheep milk

Sheep milk is certainly well-known for its special qualities, its original flavour and the fact that it is truly unique and precious being a thousand-year old agricultural tradition of the Mediterranean region. But why is it really important to consume sheep milk?
There are at least five reasons

The first reason is that it contains more calcium and minerals (such as zinc) than other types of milk. Together with lactose and Vitamin D, which is present in almost double the quantity compared to cow’s milk, the calcium contained in sheep milk is of vital importance in preventing osteoporosis. Zinc is essential for maintaining healthy skin.

The second reason concerns the intake of vitamins, especially Vitamin B Complex and Vitamins A, D and E. Sheep milk is particularly rich in folic acid and Vitamin B 12 which are both important for preventing Spina bifida.

The third reason, although it may seem strange, regards fats. One needs to remember that the so-called “fats” are three soluble vitamins: A, D and E. Sheep milk has a higher content of these vitamins compared to cow’s milk and goat milk. In addition, sheep milk also contains a higher percentage of medium/short-chain fatty acids which is thought to lead to a greater absorption of lactose to the benefit of those who are slightly intolerant.

The fourth reason concerns whey proteins which are the most digestible amongst proteins found in milk.

The fifth reason regards proteins. While 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk is made up of caseins and 20% of whey protein, sheep and goat milk contains greater quantities of whey protein and therefore less caseins. This in turn affects protein tolerance. Whey proteins are heat sensitive; if exposed to high temperatures they are denatured.

Continue Reading

Price of powdered whole milk increases in South America

Manufacturing sector and market for milk and dairy strives to get by in South America, as powdered whole milk prices are on the rise. The three main countries in the area, that is Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, have of course to deal with different issues, as reported in an analysis by Minimum prices reflect export outside of the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur) area, while maximum prices reflect export between all the countries belonging to Mercosur, mainly towards Brazil. Powdered whole milk manufacturing is a very active sector in the region. In Argentina and Uruguay, supply and demand are balanced, while Brazil’s reserves are lacking and is forced to import it (mainly from Uruguay).

The three major plyaers

In Argentina, milk production faces a seasonal decrease (deliveries for the January-October period of this year are down 11,48% compared to the same period of last year, while those months used to register a yearly peak during last years); nonetheless, needs of processing industry have been met. In October, milk price at the farm was around 26,45€/100lt.

Even Uruguay is facing a seasonal decrease in milk production (since deliveries are down 11,37&), although levels are still enough to support dairy derivatives production. There is a very good demand for bottled milk within the country and, since there is also a milk surplus, production of powdered whole milk is very active.

On the other hand, Brazil sees stable levels of milk production. Precipitations help improving grass quality in the pastures of major milk-producing areas. Milk price has decreased slightly, hitting around 30,79€/100lt. Demand for drinking milk destined to retail vendors is strong. Demand for powdered whole milk as ingredient is strong as well, and as we already mentioned, this is imported from Uruguay.

Continue Reading

Milk and Dairy, good performances for UE exports

Milk and dairy products export from European Union Countries, during the period from January through February of this year, saw a +8% increase in volume and a substantially stable -0,6% in value. Among products that grew the most in terms of volume, we find caseinates on the top step of the podium, with butter as close and positive second boasting an excellent +113,4%, an increase of 37,4% from the same period in 2015; right after butter, we find milk and cream, with a 36,4% increase. Good performances also come from casein (14%) and cheese (13,8). Data related to low-fat powdered milk are decidedly negative (-18,7%), and condensed milk is no different (-27,1%). In terms of value, on the other hand, caseinates are drastically decreasing with a-6,5%. If we take into account the 3-digit leap in terms of volume. By contrast, data from butter are rallying (+29,6%), as well as those from milk and cream (+22,8%) and cheese (+3,7) (source:

Export value was € 10.275.104 (down 0,6% from same period in 2015), while import value was € 508 million (down 0,4%), with a total active balance of € 9.688.000, a figure that is in any case lower than last year’s e 9.726.000.

European Union milk and dairy export for September

However, latest data show a recovery and give hope to surpass levels of 2015. Percentages related to export volumes are in the double-digit – from September of this year – for the vast majority of European Union milk & dairy products: from a 19,6% increase for milk and cream to a 16,9% increase for powdered serum, to a +14,1% for cheese and a +13,4% for butter, and also another increase of 13,3% for baby formula (source:

Powdered milk performances keep following their trend and are definitely negative, with both skimmed-milk and whole milk both in the red (-21,6% and -23,2%, respectively.) In terms of prices, still in comparison with September 2016 and the same month from last year, we only see an increase for butter (+12,9%), powdered whole milk (+3,8%) and milk for infancy (+2,6%).

Continue Reading